On Hergest Ridge

This is part of the Offa's Dyke path, which leads up to Hergest Ridge, in our neighbouring sister county, Herefordshire. This is an old drover's path and it becomes beautifully broad and inviting as you proceed up and along it.

It's a nice gentle climb to the top, just right for out of condition types like ourselves and even better - a bench handily situated halfway up.


Where one can study the map and try to work out where the heck we are in relation to everything.

We like to know where we are in a landscape Just beyond the hills, a dim blue hump on the horizon, we spot Caer Caradoc, whose more taxing slopes we went up the other week. Now we can place ourselves. There's Shropshire, just a few miles away -

 - and there's two humped Caer Caradoc, the furthest hill we can see, keeping a watchful eye on us, in case we stray too far.

If you recognise the name 'Hergest Ridge', then you may be thinking of the Mike Oldfield album of the same title. It was written round about here, and somewhere in our packed up things I have the original vinyl, picked up second hand when I was about seventeen, so visiting the actual place was a  landmark journey for me.

We made our way to the flattened top, where the winds whistle and sheep graze quietly with ponies. Then we strolled back down hill, finding shelter behind a big gorse bush where we could eat in peace - the local cheeses we bought in Ludlow a few hours earlier - Wrekin White, Monkland and Ludlovian Cheddar. With ripe Victoria plums and water. Apart from the ciabatta (although also locally baked) it was about a traditional a picnic as we could wish for.

We ate overlooking the heart of England - which may look like a flat bit of land here, but there across are the Malvern Hills and beyond them unseen, the Cotswolds, our old stamping grounds. Back then, we would see them and imagine Herefordshire and Shropshire behind them, wondering if one day we'd be living on the other side. Border country.


rossichka said...

Oh, what to say... Beautiful, pastoral sights of glorious nature and quietness! I can only exclaim and imagine what it might look like in golden Autumn! I hope you are both feeling happy!!xx

Claire said...

Wonderful views to feed your creative soul and a tasty picnic as well Gretel......
The open countryside looks peaceful and relaxing, no cars, people only animals and nature around you.
Nice to also have a wander down memory lane back to when you were seventeen.....

Claire x

Charlotte said...

Gorgeous landscape

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Gosh, that's pretty.
Have fun!

Little Dotty Bird said...

gorgeous views (and food too..mmmm) :)

Angela Reeves said...

Gorgeous pics :-) We live in Shropshire and love to get out and about in the hills and fields, especially when the weather cooperates and we have a sunny day, lol. We do a sport called geocaching which is like a treasure hunt done with satellite coordinates. It's so much fun and gets us out into the wild in places we wouldn't normally find. So much lovely countryside in this part of the country!

Frances said...

Gretel, that expanse of open land and sky is very, very beautiful and enticing.

No wonder that you all are enjoying finding vantage points from which you can survey your new whereabouts. It must have been a sort of Moment to realize you were seeing those familiar Malverne Hills from the other side.

I like the look of that picnic. This is a great time for finding lush plums at our farmers markets, and I am glad that you all are finding some new delicious local cheese varieties. I still remember the flavor of that tower you all introduced me to.

Ciabatta made me smile. My daily packed lunch for the workday is based upon a ciabatta roll (bargain priced version from a neighborhood grocery store Trader Joe's.) I fill the daily roll with a variety of fillings but one of the fillings is usually some sort of cheese. Alas, my lunchtime view is nothing like what I see in your photos...I will have to exercise my imagination!


Trailshome said...

Lovely walk, beautiful scenery, and the cheeses and plums made me drool. Thank you again for taking us along with you as you explore your part of the world. It's always a treat to see your rambles through your eyes. I sure am glad you're out walking again, I missed the virtual tours a lot.

Twiglet said...

Great post Gretel. I have never been over that way - looks worth a trip. I had heard of Hergest Ridge and of course once you said Mike Oldfield it made sense - thanks for jogging an ageing memory. x Jo

JOHN SHORTLAND, Cotswold Hills, England. said...

I walked the Offa's Dyke path many years ago, walking fron the north coast to the south coast of Wales one Easter.

I remember Hergest Ridge well! It snowed every day and it was a real test of endurance. Wouldn't be able to do it now, that's certain.

Lovely to see photos of it looking all green and summery!

Glad you're settling in well. Aren't you missing the Cotswolds just a little bit?


Lynn said...

What a lovely walk and a delicious picnic! You can't beat the British countryside.

AlanB said...

Thanks for this, Gretel. It's good to see you are enjoying your new surroundings.
We went up Hergest Ridge once, years ago; it was so windy that my son screamed until we went down again. A few years later he was running ahead of us to the top of Caer Caradoc.

Karen said...

Good to see you exploring the new surroundings. Looks lovely. x

elizabeth said...

My old part of the world from when I was growing up.
Such a wonderful walk and a wonderful picnic.
So lovely to see it so unspoiled still.
One day it would be super if you could walk on the Malvern Hills and take your lovely pictures of them!

Friko said...

So you have arrived, Gretel. Snuck into beautiful Shropshire without letting the residents.

By the way, the best preserved part of Offa's Dyke is near Clun.